Frequently Asked Questions
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Do we need tickets?

Tickets are required for all family and guests except for the Graduate Hooding Ceremony.

Seating for the Graduate Hooding ceremony is first come, first served.

Ticketed ceremonies have assigned seating. Section, row and seat location is specified on each individual ticket.

Only graduating UCI students can reserve tickets for their family or guests.

Guests must obtain tickets from their graduate PRIOR to the graduate's ceremony line-up time. Tickets are not available at the door, nor will any be held for guest pick-up. Your graduate will be able to print electronic copies of reserved tickets.

Does the graduating student need a ticket?
Graduates do not need a ticket. However, they must register to participate in their ceremony. All guests need tickets.
Does a child or baby need a ticket?
If a child or baby occupies a seat of their own, they will need a ticket. Children who are young enough (under the age of 2) to remain on a parent's lap for the duration of the ceremony do not need a ticket.
How do I get tickets to a ceremony and do they cost anything?

Guest tickets are free for all Commencement ceremonies, but are limited and must be reserved by the graduating student in April.

UCI students can log in to reserve guest tickets if they have met the graduation eligibility requirements and have completed an Application to Graduate form by the respective school deadline. Ticket reservations will be available online via the Tickets page. Ticketing opens at varying times depending on school. 

Reserved guest tickets must be printed by the graduate. Tickets will be available for printing starting May 22 online through the Bren Events Center Ticket Office.

I am an undergraduate and my school has 2 ceremonies. How do I know which ceremony I will be participating in?

When you register for tickets, the system will give you the option to choose the ceremony you want to attend. Once a ceremony is full, the ticketing system will automatically place you in the ceremony that has availability. If you have a ceremony preference, register early for the best options of picking your ceremony.

Are additional tickets available?
No. Additional tickets are not available.
Can I have my guest seats split into different areas of the Bren?
If you would like to split your guest seats to be in different areas, you will be able to do this when you download your tickets. For example, if you have 5 total tickets, you can split them into a set of 2 and a set of 3. You will download one of the sets first and then come back and download the other set the next day. This will give you the full set of 5 tickets and in different areas of the arena.
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Where do I get my cap and gown?

Graduates may purchase their cap and gown during GradExpo.

May 1-4, 2018
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Newkirk Alumni Center

Can I purchase my cap and gown at my Commencement ceremony?

No. Caps and gowns may be purchased at GradExpo. Graduates must purchase their cap and gown prior to their ceremony as appropriate regalia is required to walk. 

May 1-4, 2018
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Newkirk Alumni Center

Caps & gowns are not available for purchase on Commencement day.

Can I decorate my cap?

Caps can be decorated but must not block the view of audience members behind the graduate. 

Can I decorate my regalia gown?

Regalia gowns may not be altered or decorated.

UCI graduation sashes and stoles representing UCI organizations or proclaiming a vocational aspiration may be worn with cap and gown. Wearing multiple stoles is permitted.

Recognition cords, pins and medals awarded by UCI organizations and academic departments may also be worn with cap and gown.

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How do I change my name for my diploma?

If your diploma name needs to be changed, please contact the University Registrar. You may submit a Request for Name Change to ask that your name be changed on university records. The form is also available at the University Registrar’s office. All diplomas will reflect the exact name on your student records. 

Where is my minor shown?
Minors are NOT noted on diplomas. Minors are posted to a student's transcript.
When will I get my diploma?
Diplomas are typically available three months after the end of the quarter in which the student graduated.
When will my degree appear on my transcript?
Degrees are noted on official transcripts approximately six to seven weeks after the end of the quarter in which they are awarded.
I'm ordering a diploma frame. What size is the diploma?
The diploma is 8 1/2 x 11 inches.
Commencement Program

Students who earn their degrees in Summer Session, Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters, and the following Summer Session are eligible to have their name and major included in the Commencement Program. Each graduate may receive a complimentary copy of the program. Additional copies are available for purchase at The Hill prior to Commencement and at The Hill merchandise kiosks throughout all school ceremonies.

Degrees and Diplomas

Deans are responsible for certifying that students have met GPA, unit, residence, breadth, university, minor, school and major requirements. Awarding a degree signifies completion of coursework on or by the degree certification deadline. Transcripts of work taken at other institutions must be received by the university and posted to the academic record by the deadline. Any necessary last-minute grade changes and/or post-quarter add/drop/changes must be processed by the deadline or accompany the degree certification list.

When UCI course work is completed after the deadline or credit is given for course work completed elsewhere after the degree certification deadline, the degree should be award for the following quarter.


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What time should I arrive?


Graduates must report to their line-up location outside the Bren Events Center no later than ninety minutes (one hour and thirty minutes) prior to the start time of the ceremony in order to allow adequate time to check in, clear security, verify name card information, line up, find friends and be prepared to begin the ceremony. Each school ceremony page will list specific line-up locations.


Family and guests should plan to arrive at the Bren Events Center one hour before the event to allow for parking or traffic congestion. 

Please be advised that bag checks at the entry doors will be conducted at all Commencement ceremonies, prior to entering the Bren Events Center.

Guests should be prepared for inspection of their personal items such as the following:

  •  Backpacks
  •  Large tote bags
  •  Large camera bags
  •  Large purses

It is recommended that guests leave these items at home or in a secure location.

How long is each school ceremony?

Each school ceremony will be between 1½ to 2 hours, depending on the number of graduates.

Guests should designate a place to meet their graduate after the ceremony!

General ceremony program:

  • The event begins with the processional.
  • After a short program, each graduate goes on stage as their name is read.
  • Graduate is shown on the screens above the stage as they shake hands with a Dean or other dignitary.
  • Professional photographs are taken as the graduate is congratulated.
  • The event ends with a recessional.
Can I leave the school ceremony early?
No. Out of respect for the graduates and their guests, attendees are asked to remain for the duration of the ceremony.
Do I need to reserve a disabled/elderly parking spot?

No. Guests should inform the parking attendant upon arrival at the parking structure of any assistance needed.

If parked at the Student Center Parking Structure (SCPS), golf carts will be available to transport elderly/disabled guests to the Bren Events Center.

Guests should not contact UCI Parking & Transportation to request a disabled parking space. 

Is smoking permitted?

No. UC Irvine is proud to be a smoke-free campus. Additionally, marijuana, vape pens and e-cigs are not permitted.

With the passing of Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana use in the State of California, there may be confusion about what is allowed on UCI's campus. While the new law allows for the purchase and recreational use of marijuana, UCI abides by the policies of the University of California, as well as federal law. The applicable policy, viewed here, clearly states that the use, possession and sale of marijuana, in all forms, is prohibited on campus property, including all university-owned and leased buildings, housing and parking lots.

What am I allowed to bring into the ceremony?

In accordance with Bren Events Center  and UCI policies, the following items are NOT permitted:

  • Balloons
  • Coolers, bottles and/or alcoholic beverages
  • Smoking
  • Pets (except trained service dogs)
  • Strollers in the arena area
  • Outside food or beverage
  • Flash photography
  • Airhorns, boom sticks and artificial noisemakers
  • Signs larger than 20" x 24"
  • Weapons

Video recording is allowed.

For security purposes, all bags are subject to search prior to entry for any event.

Full code of conduct for Bren Events Center guests »

Who is included in the Graduate Hooding ceremony?

All Ph.D. and M.F.A. candidates who have completed or are expected to complete their degree during Summer 2017 - Fall 2018 quarters who have not previously walked in the Graduate Hooding Ceremony.

PLEASE NOTE: The Paul Merage School of Business and the School of Law hold their own ceremonies. School of Medicine M.D. are in their own ceremony. They are not included in the Graduate Hooding ceremony.

Is there a graduation practice before the ceremonies?
There is no practice prior to any of the ceremonies. Once you arrive at lineup, you will be given directions on what to do.
What is the difference between an announcement and an invitation?

An announcement is used to formally communicate with friends and family that a graduate will be completing their degree.

Graduation announcements, thank you notes and a variety of paper goods can be ordered from CB Graduation Announcements, 800.433.0296.

An invitation invites people to come to commencement events and is usually given to those who have made the greatest investment in a graduate's education. Graduates inviting people to attend their Commencement ceremony should be sure to inform guests that tickets are required for entry, in addition to providing them with their tickets prior to the ceremony. 

Can the Commencement Office provide information about a graduate?
The Commencement Office cannot provide information about individual student graduates or their reservations.
How can I request that my name be excluded from the printed program?

Students wishing to opt out of the being listed in the printed program should do so in early May by emailing the University Registrar at

I am finishing my coursework in Fall 2018. Can I walk in any of the Commencement ceremonies?

Undergraduate students who have completed their course work in Summer '17, Fall '17, Winter '18, Spring '18 or will complete their coursework in Summer '18 are eligible to participate in the 2018 ceremonies.

Graduate students receiving their Masters or Ph.D. may be able to participate if they plan to complete their degree before or during Fall '18.

Please check with your academic advisor to see if you are eligible.

A relative needs a letter to obtain a visa to attend my commencement.

Graduates can write their own invitation letter for their family member. Also, the International Center encourages graduates to obtain an enrollment verification from the Office of the Registrar.

UCI does not write these letters, nor are they required by the U.S. Consulate. For additional information, please contact UCI's International Center.

For more information on inviting family members to the U.S.A. and a sample letter of invitation, click here.

I would like to be a speaker at my school’s ceremony. How do I apply?
The schools are in charge of selecting their speakers. Sometimes schools rotate responsibility for providing speakers, and not every school will provide a speaker every year. Students interested in available opportunities should contact the Student Affairs office of their school for information on how to apply to be a student speaker.